robert f, eric zorn podcast

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Posted by doug in evergreen park on February 02, 2011 at 23:12:50:

Ahead of his time as usual, Zorn pulls the plug on weekly podcast

February 2nd, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

Citing a lack of enthusiasm inside Tribune Tower and out, Chicago Tribune columnist and uber-blogger Eric Zorn pulled the plug Wednesday on the freewheeling and provocative podcast he co-hosted with editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis.

In an abbreviated farewell edition of The Prickly Pair Podcast, Zorn said he and Stantis made the “difficult decision” to discontinue the weekly conversations they’d been taping in a studio at Tribune-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720) since last August. Also involved in the decision were regular contributor and media columnist/blogger Phil Rosenthal and producer Kristin Samuelson.

The concept of the Prickly Pair was to play off the differences between the unabashedly liberal Zorn and conservative Stantis. But their topics frequently encompassed much more than politics especially after the well-versed and witty Rosenthal joined the mix.

“It’s been a lot of fun to do, but we haven’t found the audience out there or the institutional support in here to make it worth everyone’s time to continue,” Zorn said in his valedictory podcast. “We’re really grateful to those who’ve listened since we started last summer and who’ve offered their feedback and encouragement.”

While Zorn chose not to get specific about what he meant by “institutional support,” he wrote on his blog: “My strong belief in podcasting as a vital medium for major media companies of the future has not yet taken hold here, and perhaps Scott and I, for all the enthusiasm we brought to it, weren’t the ideal team.”

In a followup to one reader’s comment, Zorn added: “Near as we could tell the audience was small but growing (the audio file had several iterations and click-through rates on many of them couldn’t be measured), yet there just wasn’t a critical mass of quality, listener enthusiasm and web-team enthusiasm for us to justify going forward. It might be that another grouping will light the podcast fire here some time down the line.”

As a pioneer among his Tribune colleagues in the use of blogs and social media, Zorn deserves tremendous credit for constantly seeking new ways to engage his audience. In this case, I suspect his only fault was again being ahead of his time.


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